Olympic torches a hit on eBay
Some of Britain's Olympic torchbearers have been making the most of their country's special moment - by selling their torches on eBay, attracting bids of over £150000 (about R1.9-million).
The gold-coloured torches began appearing on the auction website within hours of the torch relay starting in southwest England on Saturday. One torchbearer said yesterday that she had received a final bid of £153000.
Each of the 8000 runners - chosen for their "inspirational" personal achievements or contribution to local communities - can buy their torch for £215 (R2815), discounted from the £495 (R6481) cost price, a London 2012 spokesman said.
One torch, used on Saturday and billed as "an amazing sporting souvenir - be one of the first to have one!" was attracting bids of over £30000 on yesterday. Another seller was asking a minimum of £145000.
Organisers said they were powerless to stop the sales.
"It is up to the torchbearer to do what they want with their torches. We just hope they end up in a good home," said the spokesman.
"The majority of people want to keep them as a souvenir of their participation."
Sarah Milner Simonds, who carried the flame yesterday after being chosen for her community gardening work, told BBC television that she had received a final bid of £153000.
She sold her torch in advance, with the buyer to take possession after her run.
"The sale closed last night at 10 o'clock and the final bid was £153000," Simonds added.
She said she had received abusive e-mails from people who objected to her decision.
"It has really upset people but I think that it's not something that is really me to keep my shiny trophy on a mantelpiece when it is obvious how much good one can do with the money," she said.